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the president, a good host never leaves his party unatetendunatt. rule number one, remain present. never be so consumed with hosting the party you forget to chill out, relax and enjoy it. if guests pick up on your stress, they are not going stick around. if he makes it look like a good time, he's more likely to attract smart, young people elected to office and keep the democratic party going strong. be a gracious host. don't keep that bean dip to yourself. president obama is still holding on to the coveted data base of 16 million voters, volunteers and donors. he's going to have to share if he wants to keep the party going. pick a theme. a togo party kegger. articulate goals with a clear,
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concise and memorable message that signals the vision for 2016 and beyond. now, here's a known secret that only the best party planners know, don't do it alone. delegate a few friends to pick up the ice or plates and cups. the president needs to identify his field lieutenants to do the grunt work of building up the party. that means running for office, searching for viable candidates to run in 2014 or 2016, buildsing party organizations and crafting a cohesive policy agenda on state and county levels. once you have done all of that, you want to make sure your party is unforgotable. don't be afraid to shake things up. swap out the regular lightbulbs for the black light and turn your party into a groovy shack. newt gingrich was good at this. inviting broad, diverse of
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people. make sure everyone doesn't already know each other. the democrats need to continue pursuing the diverse big tense coalition that reelected president obama and not just in solidly blue territory. not to be forgotten, music. the fuel to keep a good ranger in full throttle. start with a mix of low key tunes, pumping up the volume and getting the tempo gradually going until you reach the height of the party with a song that gets everyone on the dance floor. last but not least, make sure you have food, lots and lots of it to keep the dancers energized. the democratic party has to provide training, connections, opportunities to come together for networking and money. money, money, money, money to pay for all of it. all that's left to do is figure out the democratic sound track for 2014 and beyond. voila, you have the recipe that would make martha stewart proud.
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they would have put together a party that people will still be talking about for years and decades to come. here at the table, the mayor of atlanta, georgia, kasim reed, karen, former dnc communications director and now msnbc political analyst and john rally. so nice to have you all here. >> good morning. >> i'm going to start with you, karen. this is the deal. on the one hand, we reelected president obama as a country that's a step toward continuing his policies. >> yep. >> but the question of legacy is a question of the strength of the party. what is president obama likely to leave behind? >> you mentioned the key things. howard dean had the right description, build from the ground up. make sure grass roots is strong, fill the bench of talent, mayors, governors, state
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legislative races. that's where a lot of legislation gets passed that impacts, hello, say vaginal probe. >> they can say that in virginia, we know that. >> making sure that pipeline of talent, also, in terms of the technology and the data bases and the expertise, leaving the dnc, the actual infrastructure in place and available to candidates and available to the party is really critical. the best example i can give you is look what happened to the republicans. karl rove, when he was running the bush campaign, their technology was state of the art. at the rnc, they didn't have that. they didn't have what he had this time. they never built on what they have. it's not just what do we have now, but how do we make sure going forward, we are continuing to build for the future. the last thing is money, money, money. make sure the bills are paid and money in the bank. >> i want to go to you on this
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point, john. this issue of technology as part of it, we have a fast moving technological world that impacts politics. it's not just running the old fashioned commercials. it's part of it. all these other aspects, you run campaigns. what are the things in terms of the technological aspects of building this party they need to have their eyes on? >> one thing jim messina talked about is they threw out the '08 model and rebuilt this campaign. this is an important, intelligent, ideological discussion as well of not just building on what you have but think about how the future is going to be different and retool. i think the other thing, when you think what are the weaknesses of the party, we don't hold congress in the state legislatures, how do we rebuild at that level? there's an ideological sorting out we need to have. in the late '80s and early '90s,
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the moderates turned on the left of our party. what does the dlc democrats, the blue dogs and moderates look like. we want to take back legislatures, elect governors, not that we compromise principles, but talking the big ten, we want to be diverse. there's a diversity that we are less diverse than three or four years ago. >> mayor, this is the question of the democratic party in the south, right? when we look at the democratic party in the south, basically, it looks like you. it looks like mayors, it looks like folks in local and state legislatures. when we look at the gubernatorial seats in this country, we have 30 seats held by republicans at the statewide level across the country. only 19 democratic governors. when we think of who becomes president, governors and vice presidents end up becoming president. how do we build a democratic
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party in the south without giving up civil rights, women's reproductive rights and build a big tent? >> i would remind us of one word, work. that's what's ahead of us. we have a path. we have seen nationally that i think the presidency favors democrats. the real work is going to be exactly where you pointed out, state legislatures. in 2010, we vis rate at the gubernatorial level. in 2010, we got killed. we have to build that back and we need to put together a concrete plan to take the house. we have to stay in the future business. by that, the republicans continue to practice the politics of subtraction. that's a losing strategy nationally. it's not impacted them locally. it's up to local democrats to say we are the one who is care about the middle class. we are the ones who don't encourage vaginal probes for women -- >> unless they want them.
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>> we are the ones who try to make sure african-americans have the right to vote. we are the ones who believe in the dream act. we are the ones who believe in inclusion for gay and lesbians. >> it's a messaging piece. i get that. i get the messaging is part of what a strong party does. but, i also wonder, part of it is just the bench, right? again, the 30 governors versus 19 governors. when you hear people talk of 2016 and who is going to run. you hear hillary clinton. you hear joe biden. i both appreciate and like them but that sounds to me like our bench is not very deep on the democratic side. >> right now, it's probably not. i would take a different tact on it. i think barack obama has a lot of skills, a lot of talents. party building has never been one of them. i think to build a party, it's us. it's not barack obama who is going to do it.
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it's going to a grass roots effort and come from the ground up. historically, the democratic party has been strong when it's built on the back of labor. 50 years ago, union density was 30%. it's never coming back. labor is important, but it is not a huge national powerful national force anymore. we need to figure out a way to get back to that. we need a base of the party, which is solely focused on the middle class and workers. we have a party that represents business interest. we don't need two parties that do that. they are schizophrenic. we are the party of the middle class and always looking behind our shoulders. >> i'm going to let you in when we come back. your former boss is going to join us. when we come back, the ultimate political party planner, howard dean is going to join us. we'll talk about how to get this party going.
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we're back talking about what the democrats need to do to build a strong party even after president obama has left office. joining our discussion is someone who knows how to build the party. he spent his tenure doing that. joining me was the governor of vermont, howard dean. nice to have you. >> thanks for having me on. and thanks for karen for beating me over the head until i did get on. >> she is a friend of nerdland, there's no doubt about that. >> that's right. >> i want to talk about the 50 state strategy, the piece that
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came along with your tenure of leadership. also, you got a lot of pushback from within the party saying we have to take this thing national. >> yeah. well, look, the washington party rarely gets what's going on elsewhere. washington is disconnected from the rest of the country. they are smart, hard working people. it's one of the reasons president obama ran his campaign from chicago. you just don't get what goes on in the rest of the country when you are in washington. it's not surprising they want to do things it old fashioned way. to build a party, tough be everywhere. one of the reasons we got clobbered in legislature is because our party's have gotten weak. the dnc needs to help state parties and train them, as we did and they need them to make their own decisions. people from kansas know how to win in kansas. people from washington don't know how to win in kansas. >> i feel like one of my tasks
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as a college professor is to find every young person sitting in my classroom who may have an ounce of talent and saying have you thought of running for office. i tend to say to them, voting is like the brushing your teeth of democracy. running for office is really enga engaging. how do we get young people to run? how do we get that bench deeper? >> things have changed a lot in the last eight or ten years since i ran for president. that's what i said. i didn't say brushing your teeth, but i said you got a "d" for voting. that's the bare minimum. if you want to do something, you have to run or work in somebody's campaign. the problem is, that's a lot less salable now because of the sclerosis in d.c., a lot of people find they can change the system. kids are changing schools in the worst neighborhoods in the country, going abroad to run
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their own foreign aid companies independently of the government. the government is broken not just because people scream at each other in washington. you have right wingers abandoned by a supreme court thinking money makes the country run. government is unattractive to young people. it's not going to get attractive to young people until we get reform. the only way to do that is get democrats into congress. >> i'm going brag on you. part of what i thought was effective is his idea is we have to have a business plan for the party. we have to be able to show and get out of thinking cycle-to-cycle and think long term. it's how you build a bench. governor dean was the one in '05 thinking redistricting in 2010, we are going get screwed if we don't think about it. people in washington are thinking that's five years from now, who cares.
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now we are living that because we didn't pay attention. the idea of the national party showing up. showing up means, this is critical for the democratic party. in the african-american and latino communities, we will not have, likely, an african-american at the top of the ticket in the next presidential election. we have made huge gains with african-americans and latinos. the republican party is going to go after them. we can't afford to show up two weeks before the election, which is in our past. it's something the governor was committed to doing and reaching out to people of faith. people who share our values but not the most obvious alliances. >> we have talked of tactics, but candidates, candidates, candidates. you are a better coach when you have a great talent on the floor. >> that's right. that's true. >> one thing there's not been a lot of focus on is developing leaders and talent and getting people of a different profile.
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i love working for attorneys who are state legislatures and others, but let's get more military veterans, people who are entrepreneurs, community organizers and get out in the community outside of just the people at the regular democratic meetings and get different people to run because they are going to have different networks involved in fund raising. i think people are starved for somebody who doesn't look like who they hate in washington. >> is there one governor we have lost in your time or in leadership of the party, one thing, the labor that kevin gave us was part of that, thinking about the labor movement under attack and the democratic party under attack. is there one other thing that needs to be laser focus in the second administration as they look to leave a party legacy? >> there is though no president has done it. having president obama at the top of the ticket is fantastic.
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it's underlined the coalition we have with women, latinos, african-americans, asian americans, native americans have been part of the coalition for a long time. muslims, all the groups the republicans like to hate. obama managed to crystallize the group of people who are going to be america and are growing fast. the problem is, all presidents do this. it's all about them. what's going on with the dnc for the last five years is while obama has been running, in my view, the best campaigns ever run by any president ever, it's extraordinary what they have done, it's all about obama. somehow that has to be transferred through the dnc and get the dnc away from being the re-election vehicle for the president. it always happens. this is not a whack at obama. clinton did it, carter did it. everybody does it. we have to see beyond 2012 and get beyond 2008. this is not about the president.
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this is about changing the country in a way that can make the country vibrant and whole again. >> thank you so governor howard dean in vermont. i had a conversation with a conservative colleague saying oh, melissa, you think in decades, we think in millennium. that's long term. >> they do. the fifth millennium or something. >> they have a lot of time to think about it over the next four years. up next, what it would take to change power in the house of representatives in 2014. look what mommy is having. mommy's having a french fry. yes she is, yes she is. [ bop ]
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prevent gerrymandering to keep their candidates out of office. in the 2012 election, democrats won more than republicans by 49% to 48% margin. yet, thanks to redistricting, republicans maintained a solid majority in the house. according to an analysis, democrats could have won the popular vote by 7% and still not won control of the house. so, if the line is, in part, based on gerrymandering, district that is are drawn because of the state houses controlled overwhelmingly by republicans, is there a chance in the red states to build a democratic party? >> melissa, it's happening right now. i don't want us to be depressed. hillary clinton is not a bad bench to have. >> no. >> it's happening. >> we can have another conversation about that. >> the point i'm make sg this. if you look at what's going on
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in virginia and north carolina, florida is gone for the republicans. i think georgia is going well for the democrats. but, we have to do the would recollect. governor dean really made the point. we have to move away from the focus of the presidency and turn that focus, passion and work into state legislatures and the house of representatives. that's going to be the trick for democrats. the trick for democrats is can we bring our vigor, energy, passion, technological advances to campaigns where we don't have the presidency at the top of the ticket? >> and the money. a city council raise used to be something a middle class or ordinary or schoolteacher could run. now you are talking l ining hun thousands of dollars to win a city council race in a local town. >> that's true. our young candidates have to fall in love with the grind. you can get out there and
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outwork other candidates through traditional means and the use of technology. i don't warry about somebody 50 or 60 running against me. i worry about somebody 20 or 30 years of age and can knock on doors. folks like me who have opportunities have to build our staff for young people. the coo for the city of atlanta is 36 years old. my chief of staff is 43 years old. a senior adviser who is 30. we have to live this. you have to live it. karen's got -- we all have to live it. it's where they get exposure, thundershower understanding and it's how they are launched. >> governor, i know you have written a bit that maybe we are over emphasizing the impact of redistricting and 2010 may be more marginal than how it impacted the republicans
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controlling the house of representatives. >> there's two things going on. there's gerrymandering. there's no question, there's four or five states where republicans tried really hard to build new districts and they succeeded. >> ohio. >> ohio. there's also, say texas where they tried hard and the court overturned it. when you net it out, maybe gerrymandering cost democrats eight, nine, ten seats. it's nothing to sneeze at, but it's not what lost us the majority. there's the incumbency advantage. the party that controls the house will keep controlling the house even if they lose by a couple percentage points. for years, it's benefited democrats, now republicans. democrats have work ahead of them. we have gerrymandering and we have to breakthrough the majority. once we get it back, the good news is, it's easier to keep it. >> there's good news. i think it's right. >> let's not get depressed. >> right. >> there's a party. >> there's a party. >> we don't need prozac, just a
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plan. there's a national organization focused on training progressive leaders and they have chapters in 20, 30 different cities. they are going build a bench of talent that is out of the campaign sector and running for office, helping people. that's good. there was something called project new west that is now project new america. i think they are going to shift their focus or add to the focus in the south as well. they got focused on we can take back the rocky mountain west. we need research and planning. that happened. it's policy, political and so there's going to be a focus in the south now. the south will come back. we have huge african-american population. >> the demographics tell us texas might go. >> exactly. >> when you focus a presidential campaign on 18 states, that means where they aren't hearing
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the message, you are letting the other side define you. in 2004-2005, we did polling to try to understand why people who should be voting for democrats weren't. they shared values with us. it's how we were talking about things and labeling issues. how you talk about it in georgia may be different than how you talk about it in ohio. understanding the differences. as progressives, we have to be being to stand-up for our values and be as aggressive as the other side is about demonizing it. >> turn them blue. we have to take a quick break. when we come back, it's been 23 days since the shooting at sandy hook elementary. the gun violence continues. [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium-rich tums starts working so fast you'll forget you had heartburn. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums
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most of the kids were excited a policeman told nbc news about the more than 400
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children of sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut who returned to class thursday, in a different building for the first time since the december 14th mass shooting that took the lives of 20 of their classmates. the newtown shooting galvanized the country's debate over gun violence and gun control. the violence continued at a steady pace. since the tragedy on december 14th. at least 18 people per day on average have been killed nationwide as a result of a fatal shooting. at least six people were shot to death between december 14th and the end of the year in detroit. a city in which 2012 was one of the deadliest in deck kalds. 12 people before december 14th and the new year were shot and killed in chicago. in 2013, our national crisis with gun violence seems on pace to continue. on the very first day of the new year, it was at 12:30 a.m.
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eastern in philadelphia, pennsylvania, we lost a 17-year-old boy. at 1:00 a.m., in trenton, new jersey, a 54-year-old man. 2:00 a.m. in north carolina a man. a charlotte, north carolina a 19-year-old man. at 2:00 a.m., in lansing, michigan a man in his 20s. at 2:48 a.m. in cleveland, ohio, we lost a man whose age we don't know. at 3:00 a.m., mountain time in colorado, we lost a man whose age we do not know. at 4:16 a.m. central in chicago, illinois, we lost a 20-year-old man. at 5:30 a.m. in indianapolis, indiana, we lost a man in his 50s. we lost them all to gun violence. before most of the country was awake on new year's day. then just yesterday, four people, two men, one woman and the gunman who held them hostage
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in aurora, colorado, sight of last year's mass shooting in a movie theater. the lead story in this mornings, washington post says the white house has a broad gun proposal in the wake of newtown, connecticut. hurry, please. uncer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. the end of trial and error has arrived. try a free sample at [ female announcer ] pop in a whole new kind of clean. with tide pods. just one removes more stains than the 6 next leading pacs combined pop in. stand out.
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alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat. simple. effective. belt-friendly. let's fight fat with alli. learn more, lose more at is there a connection between crime, lower iqs and a surge in adhd? that's the question asked by the latest cover story in mother jones. lower crime, raise iqs, cut the deficit. what is this criminal element that macon nekt the issues? the answer may surprise you. lead may be the culprit. the liz of emissions from leaded gasoline from the 1940s to the 1970s, may have had an impact on the impact of crime rate from the 1960s to the 1980s. when lead emissions went down,
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so did crime with the appropriate time lag. the same can be made with leaded gasoline and teen pregnancy. let's be clear, corelation is not causation. the data is surprisingly convincing when paired with the findings that the smallest bit of lead exposure has an impact on the kids under 6. scariest for me, my home in new orleans is in the middle of this map where lead in the soil and in homes poses a huge problem for residents. what are we to make about the role of lead and what should we do about it? >> back with us, kasim and karen and howard. howard, i want to start with you because this is your life work
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in many ways or at least certainly recently. you have done an enormous amount of work. what is the connection between lead and the negative social outcomes. >> the way we approach the problem is to map cities. i have mapped the city of new orleans, as you point out, and what we are seeing is that the areas that have high lead in the environment also have low school scores, they are areas where the police are spending some time looking at in terms of high crime rates. that connection is clearly made when you start mapping. >> so there's at least three different layers of this research showing this connection. one is like the mapping of the relationships in the time they are occurring. the other is the time lag data about lead gasoline emissions and the kids who were exposed to it grow up, there's a crime
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wave. lead gasoline emissions go down. kids under the lower ones, there's lower crime. there's individual data about iq and blood levels. kevin, this report was terrifying to me. >> yeah. in addition to the statistical evidence, kids who grew up in the '50s, early' 40s and '50s. it affects their brain development. we have known for a long time lead affects iq and school scores. in the last ten years, there's a new line of evidence suggesting it affects areas of prefrontal cortex in the brain. those are areas that affect emotional regulation, judgment, impulse control, aggression. all the things you would think that might lead to more violent crime. sure enough, when you look at the graphs put up there, it does. in addition, there's been a study going on for a long time
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at the university of cincinnati. it started in 1981. they took 400 children and followed them. every six months, they measure the blood levels, measure how they are doing in school and a bunch of other things. what they found, as they grew up when they tested them at 5, they were doing worse in school. at 15, juvenile delinquency. the higher the lead level in the blood, the worse it got. you have to wait 25 years to make the connection with violent crime. it was clear in the data. the higher the blood level, the more likely to be arrested for a violent crime. >> professor, what i will say is i have a bit of angst as a former statistics professor. that is just to say -- i taught that and political science classes. is this an ecological fallacy?
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we look at the collective data and things going on. the neighborhoods where kids are growing up also have a ton of other sociological indicators with poor performing schools and more likely to be arrested because of police. how solid is this as a scientific and statistical matter, how much should i be convinced by these data? >> i think the main convincing data is the mri data for the brain damage that is being seen for individuals with children where lead poison compared to individuals who are not poisoned as children. it's a very clear difference between the two. i think it's the main medical -- >> how much lead does it take to be lead poisoned? >> very small amounts. >> i happen to have a
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demonstration with me. these are one gram packets. within each of the packets, there's 1 million micrograms. we are worried about children who get exposed to six milli millionths of what is in this package. that's 1 million of micrograms. totally invisible. in every gallon of gasoline, there were two grams. back in the 1960s, most cars had 20 gallons in them. so, 20 gallons, that's 40 grams. ten cars, 400 grams, almost a pound of lead. that was introduced into the atmosphere during that period of time. it caused enormous difficulties to our population. huge increases in the amount of blood lead.
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we knew, even in the 1980s, half the population had exposures above 15 micrograms per decimal. >> okay. here is my fear. if i can test the blood of my constituents and find a sugar packet full of lead in them, should i put ankle bracelets on them because they are going to commit a crime? this is my fear for a local policymaker. these kids have been exposed. let's test the blood of all our constituents and police them. >> we are the firewall against that. shows like this and elected officials who care about solving the problem. in atlanta, we had less than 90 people murdered. we have people who cared about this issue and were on the front lines. the turner foundation raised this issue immediately. the president's administration
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put lead based paint removal at the top of their priority when administering funds doing the american recovery. we won the grants, did significant work in this area. this is a space where we don't have to figure that out and be so smart. we know lead hurts our kids. we now have substantial data that shows those individuals go on to commit crimes so we should be more active in removing lead, we should learn about the information that the doctor talked about, the science is solid and now we just need to act. >> when we come back, i want to talk about what the good policy might look like and why it pays to get the lead out. that's next. people have doubts about taking aspirin for pain. but they haven't experienced extra strength bayer advanced aspirin. in fact, in a recent survey, 95% of people who tried it agreed that it relieved their headache fast. visit
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a weakened economy should not stop us from lead exposure.
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the terms of lead abbatement justify the cost. $10 billion is the cost of a 20-year program to replace lead painted windows in an older home. $210 billion a year four decades could be the annual return for the lead reduction efforts. an estimated $60 billion generated by kids with higher iqs who go on to earn higher incomes. $150 billion in savings from an estimated 10% reduction in crime. karen, political will is part of this. >> yeah. >> this congress cut, the 112th, our favorite congress. they are not doing much. they cut the cdc budget for lead poisoning by 94%, cutting it from $29 million to $2 million. if i am in a city, if i'm a
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mayor with a good perspective on this, on the city council in new orleans and recognize how bad it is, they don't have the money to do the monitoring. >> from a policy and political perspective, it means taking the longer view. go beyond the arguments that we need to cut spending, cut, cut, cut. understand what are the implications of the cuts. the things you are talking about, this is 20, 30, 40 years ago. decisions made that are impacting us now. it feels like, in terms of congress' level, we are not able to make those decisions. those cuts, we don't know the negative implications they will have. at the local level, they have to have the ability to have the long-term thinking. clearly, we are stuck in congress with the political tactic, not actual long term governing and thinking of the big issues. >> i was surprised in the report
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about how much the academic community pushed back against this. criminologists, sociologists shied away from a lead based explanation for is social ills. >> this evidence is sort of new. you know, ten years ago, the association between lead and violent crime was an intriguing idea. a tremendous amount of new evidence has come forward and made it into a solid case. criminologists think in s sociological. they contribute to crime in a big way, but lead does, too. what you would like to see is people taking it seriously. one of the reasons i wrote the article was exactly that. if they are going to push back, take it seriously. study it. try to put holes in the argument. at least take it seriously and
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really figure out what is going on with it. >> we talked about the criminology aspect of it. it felt like there was another potential policy aspect. that is education. i think of the national level or state level rules for sort of outcomes in education. i'm looking at this map and as you pointed out, not only is it is map where crime is in the city, it's a map where you have low performing schools. ought we not put lead on top of our outcomes and not saying you have to close your school because you are dealing with students who are lead poisoned. >> correct. the mapping of a city is really easy to do. it's much -- ethically, it's more important to do something like that where you get at the source than measure blood level. we use the child to indicate what is environment is like and try to turn it around to primary prevention in measuring the
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environment and try to prevent the child from getting exposed. it turns out soil is very easy to measure the amount of lead in soil. we are doing a lot of work in the city of new orleans to try to advance changing the environment so that children don't get exposed. >> i really appreciate that shift. rather than thinking of the kid as the problem, we think of the environment. thank you very traveling up. everybody else is back for more. coming up, why your resolution to lose weight may be doomed from the start. revisiting the war on poverty then and now. more nerdland is next. [ male announcer ] rocky had no idea why dawn was gone for so long... ...but he'd wait for her forever, for any reason, and would always be there with the biggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams. compared to other leading brands,
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welcome back. i'm melissa harris perry. if you are like millions of americans, your new year's resolution involves losing weight.
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it's a top promise we make to ourselves every january 1st. with ads like these bombarding the air waves, who can blame us. >> i'm jessica simpson. this year is all about new beginnings for me. >> another year, another diet. yeah, take it off, put it on. >> i love bread. i love cheese. did i say i love chocolate? i'm human. >> being healthy is part of who i am. >> it takes the overwhelming, this is a diet out of my head. it's time to eat again, it sounds good. >> new year's day is like blad friday for the $61 billion weight loss industry. more than 100 million americans are on a diet. that obsession with shrinking our waistlines is boosting a lot of bottom lines. the celebrities talking diet programs earn an average of $33,000 for every pound they lose. that is a better incentive than
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fitting into your skinny jeans. as you are forking over money, a lot of money is being spent on the thing that is will likely make all of your efforts fail. according to reuters, since 2009, the food and befr industry spent $175 million lobbying to defeat proposals like soda taxes, government legislation aimed at making us healthier. at every level of government, they won fight after fight in the last decade. the fight begins before the food reaches your table. the farm legislation is so critical. the 112th congress failed to approve a new farm bill. in the final hours, they passed a nine-month extension of a 2008 law. $5 billion of payments to farmers for corn. the bill doesn't include any new money for our organic and
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environmental programs. if we are going change the way we eat, we need to start with our priorities on the farms. according to the california public interest group, the government spent $18 billion subsidizing ingredients found in junk food. less than $700 million subsidizing apples, one of the few fruits or vegetables to get a subsidy. the end result, the lower cost for these foods. the angst is totally unnecessary. a new study published this week in the journal of american medical association found those who are overweight according to their body mass index had less risk of dying than those of normal weight. it's not a free pass to eat everything. obese people have a greater mortality risk overall. experts say bmi should not be the only indication of a healthy
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weight. could this bring reason to the nation's obesity debate? will the diet and food industry lead us into a fat frenzy and leaving themselves fatter profits. the professor of nutrition and co-author of "thinner this year." jackie, the executive producer of just food that promotes fresh, locally grown food in new york. karen finney and john, democratic strategist and president of fletcher rally media. jennifer, if you are not feeling anything in the world, how do people lose weight? what does it take to live a healthy lifestyle? >> eat better, eat less and exercise. it's a really fine balance. i think with all the things you have spoken about, that article, the sense of complacency is going to fuel the tipping to
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obesity. it's the wrong message. so many americans are overweight. they are on the critical edge of becoming obese. it doesn't talk about the problems that fat in and of itself has for diabetes, cancer and dementia. >> it say that is you may live and enjoy your life more because you have brownies. but it doesn't tell us about the other things. >> what you are living with. that fat tissue, bmi does not measure fat tissue and where it's located. the fat around your midsection, that's what's so important. i think that's what the study did lack. what the fat does, we know that 37 million americans or 27 million americans have diabeted. from a bmi of 26 to 27 increased the risk. that fat tissue is important for our health. to live with that and the consequence of that, what it costs americans to basically, you know, pay for obesity in the
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united states is shocking. >> when we back up to the first part of the answer, you know, you are telling me, okay, don't get excited yet, eat a little less, eat a little better and move more. there's no -- there's nothing to buy with that. there's a multibillion dollar industry who says don't eat better, eat less and move more. buy this product. use this. get this gym membership. eat this particular thing on this particular day and this articular hour. >> a big part of the conversation is where you live, the community you live in, the resources you have access to is going to inform the kind of foods you eat. if you are living in a neighborhood that is known, that people can see on a map as lower income, there's going to be fewer grocery stores there. we work to make sure community health is improved by increasing
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access to fresh, healthy, locally grown food. if you have financial access, if you can afford it, geographical access, you don't have to get on three buses and a train to get to it, drive in a car and fill up your tank of gas to get to it. do you have information? do you know how to cook fresh, healthy food? we are so convenience driven. we are so busy. we look for the middle of the hours, what can i buy that is going to stay on my shelf for a long time. those choices aren't always healthy. we need access to information of what we should eat. it's not rocket science. it is easy to make fresh, healthy food, but a lot of us don't have the tools and resources. >> also, the other piece of this is politically, the debate in washington, the conversations not about food, it's about nutrients. it's a very distinct political
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reason for that. lobbyists and special interest. a lot of people think they are making good choices because it's cocoa puffs, but it's nutrient enriched. it can't be so bad. without thinking you are still eating cocoa puffs, it's still -- >> all the vitamins, all the vitamins are now gummy bears. i'm thinking this can't be right. there's some way that eating gummy bears cannot be a vitamin moment. >> if you think about food, there's a reason that certain combinations of food are healthy, whole food instead of we are going to infuse something that doesn't have these nutrients into it. we don't know necessarily what does it do to your body? it fuels the industry of people selling you foods that they say are not that bad for you. it's got nutrients, you are not poisoning your kids when you give them the sugar cereals. it's fortified. >> there's a bit of attention between the multiple things.
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on one hand, the politics of nutrients and how we talk about it and who has access to power to make sure the food on the shelves are particular kinds of food. on the other hand, this question of individual decision making. it feels like so much of what happens here is when we start talking weight loss, everybody is a republican. everybody is like nobody made you eat that, you know, cookie. that is your own choice. >> but the food industry spends billions of dollars on advertising then we have the usda or the johnson foundation spending millions of dollars to try to educate individuals about nutrition. if you get the end caps covered with the most profitable foods, 9% profit on a soda. they are powerful. >> tell me what soda does. soda freaks me out. so many kids have soda as part of their daily diet. >> 25% of teenagers consume
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three or more sodas a day. it's just sugar, it's only energy, no nutrition. it's a deadly force. it gives nothing but quick burning fuel. >> when i hear the soda conversation and what it does, people are like that's silly. that's what we thought of cigarettes. there was a moment when people sitting on air were smoking, right? you go to your workplace and everybody was smoking. that language was considered radical. >> there's been a fascinating development in that. some of the attorneys behind the tobacco settlement have filed 27 different lawsuits against some of the big companies. i think and they think they have a solid footing than with the tobacco settlement. with tobacco, there's a small piece. with food it's big in terms of dollars. the attorneys think they have
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clear cut violations with the law. with tobacco, there wasn't a clear cut violation. this is going to radically change the issue and bring it into focus. it's going to inform dramatic changes in behavior and then what will happen is i think some of the business is going to go washington like they did on asbestos litigation and they are going to want a bailout and liability limit. >> stay there. we are going to talk more about this. i want to come back to jackie's point of how where you live helps to determine what your clothing size is. [ male announcer ] says the all-new nissan altima is a better car than camry. to argue would be rude. nissan altima. with moving-object detection. lease now. just $199 per month. visit road and track called sentra an economy car minus the look and feel of an economy car.
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when it comes to the battle
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against obesity, the battlefield is not always even. where you live and how much you earn are factors in how much you weigh. higher income women are more likely to be obese than lower income women. three of the top five heaviest states are among the poorest. is it a lack of will power or lack of access. if you don't have money for a gym membership, there's the old fashioned walking, unless you live in a community where there's a lack of sidewalks. that makes it impossible for you to walk safely to and from work or the grocery store or anywhere. how do we make sure everyone has a shot at winning weight loss? i have to laugh because i look at the twitter feed and "up," the show just before this one hosted by chris hayes has a pastry plate. there's a lot of emotions about
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our segment. it's true, if you live in a heavy state and are an "up" guest, it's harder to get healthy food. this is an issue. what is literally right in front of you. whether or not you live where there is a neighborhood grocery store determines whether you buy perishable foods or the things that stay on your shelf. >> if you have access to fresh, healthy food, there's so much more you can do in terms of nourishing yourself and your family. the way the communities are built where there is food retail access is taken into consideration. there's a history of grocery stores moving out of lower income communities deliberately as a business decision. it's a mistake on their part. there's huge markets there. they are being encouraged to come back. so much of what is in a grocery store is not always healthy. it's really about increasing
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access to locally grown food. so, if you look at how much money we are spending, the farm bill that you mentioned in the introduction, if you look at how much money the american public is spending our tax dollars making sure those foods in the middle aisles and at the fast food, they are going to be the cheapest. people are going to gravitate to those foods. it's not an accident. it's not the way they are grown that makes them cheep. the fresh food has no help from american taxpayer dollars. not a dime of taxpayer dollars is going to go to making specialty crops like fresh fruit and vegetables. >> what's mapped on the conversation. we look at obesity in america, it is a race issue. non-hispanic african-americans have higher obesity rates.
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it can begin to feel as though well think white women with lots of access to lots of things are preaching to less well think working class women of color saying you are doing bad things and making bad choices. >> it comes to social outcomes. we don't have the opportunity to make the same choices. i may want to eat healthy. i can't walk to the store. the store i can get to doesn't have fresh foods. then it's not that i don't want to make a good choice. it's not that i don't want to eat better, i don't have the opportunity to make that choice. >> i work double shifts, so making time to cut up carrots. >> i move to a more upscale zip code. the same grocery chain, which will go unnamed. what is on the shelves, the
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lighting. the management staff looked alike. it was amazing. >> yeah. >> i think organizations like create a great opportunity to make the corporate people better, corporate citizens on a lot of different levels and on nutrition and the quality of food. >> as much as clearly structural change is going to be part of this, i wonder, jennifer and jackie, you are not waiting for congress to change this. >> right. >> you are doing it one step at a time. if i am a working mom with limited time and limited access, what kind of choices can i make to improve health? take away the cosmetic weight loss piece? >> i think the priority is the expendable cash you have, you have to make wise choices. nutrient rich foods, whole grain breads and fruits and vegetables. it might be hard. if you have to do quick serve items, frozen fruits and
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vegetables. it's hard. if you live in a food swamp, which is a food dessert and you are unundated with fast food restaurants in urban cities and working two jobs and trying to feed your kids, calorie density is important. you want them to be happy. it's really difficult. you can shop in the grocery store and make wise choices. this is where education is a big piece of it and planning ahead. >> one of the places where poor kids get fed is at school. one meal they can count on is lunches. catsup counts. >> it's a travesty. on the way to school, they stop at the corner store. if you have a choice between spending -- if you have $1, you can buy four pieces of candy or one banana. if that's your choice, i mean you know what the kids are going to be drawn to. it seems like they are getting a bang for their buck. really, the competition, when
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the competition is not there in terms of fresh food access, the prices will go up. so, you go to -- it's so counter intuitive. you are in a low income neighborhood. the cost of fresh produce is higher. the quality is poorer. go to a higher income neighborhood where there's more competition. more produce and the prices are more competitive. >> think about the pushback michelle obama got in talking how to be more healthy and educate. part of the problem is a lot of people have no idea what is in the food they are eating. eat real food. if you go back to because politically our conversation is about nutrients instead of food and health, not just losing weight, but what is actually healthy. kids don't know how to make those choices. we spent, you know, with the food pyramid, i don't know if kids have access to that. they don't know how to make good choices. >> this is where we'll go after
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the break. talk about first lady, michelle obama and her appearance on "the biggest loser." it shows pop culture and food and politics. i want to talk about moving. we talked about food, what about the other side of the equation when we come back. ♪ [ female announcer ] for everything your face has to face. face it with puffs ultra soft & strong. puffs has soft, air-fluffed pillows for 40% more cushiony thickness. face every day with puffs softness. try our entrees, snacks and new salads. salmon with basil, garlic chicken spring rolls, and now salads, like asian-style chicken. enjoy over 130 tasty varieties, anytime. lean cuisine. be culinary chic.
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new season of "biggest loser" kicks off. another sign that slimming down is big business. so, you know, the thing about "the biggest loser" i have an ocd with it. the main thing is exercise. they don't talk much about food but it must be a big part of it. i loved seeing the first lady on the show. there's a social pressure piece about these are people that were less valuable at this size and more valuable and better human beings at this size. how do we counter balance "let's move"? >> i think it's so important to understand people who can treat their body in a healthy fashion, if they can exercise and feel great about themselves and they demonstrate that, people have a huge respect no matter what your body type or size is if you are treating your body well. i think if you are doing those
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things that don't make you feel great, you are going to exude a different, you know, reception from different individuals. when you see someone exercising, that really gives, you know, the opportunity for people to respect you. >> unless you are a january new year's resolution people who get a gym membership. we know gym membership goes way up. 12% of new memberships join in january. a substantial portion of them head out of the gym within three months. that means january is the worst time in the world to go to the gym. >> come in march. >> but another point, there is a whole industry designed to make us, as women, feel like we are bad human beings if we are not a size 2. we know a real size 2 these days might be a 4 somewhere and a 0 somewhere else. so much of our culture is built on these ideas of beauty, particularly for women that are unrealistic when talking health
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and nutrition and exercise. what it takes to be a healthy person who eats well, that doesn't mean you are going to be a 2 and we can't all be a 2. >> sports illustrated, right? sports illustrated swimsuit issue. the moment, kate upton. this moment set off all this dialogue in the country about what that body is. is that a thin body, a fit body, a fat body. jennifer lawrence, a girl who plays in "the hunger games" the notion that she is an obese actress who shot not have been cast in the "hunger games" because she had a round face. because of that she could not be -- as a mother of a daughter, there's a madness to this set of social pressure that is looks at these bodies and has a critique. >> all women at the table are like yeah. >> i think it goes both ways.
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you can pick up a magazine and go, oh, i'm dying to be them. the other saying hey, i can wear a tight tank top and my midsection flowing out and feel comfortable because everybody else is like that. you fit in in society. the wants of being something different are always there. there's huge pressure. our environment is engineered in a way that makes it difficult to exercise and eat right. we take drastic measures and usually it's a failure. >> i want to stay on this point. food and movement were once connected because we farmed, right? we went outside and did physical work to create the food or we cooked. the act of cooking can -- is movement. there's an expension of energy that is different than microwaving a meal. >> we work with the most beautiful men and women in new york and they are urban farmers,
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community gardners, all shapes and sizes, they are glowingly healthy. they spend all summer in their gardens, they know their neighbors, eat and grow their food. they are radiant and all different sizes. i think engaging people, that is, you know, one of the beautiful things that michelle obama did was say let's move in our garden. let's grow our own food. you can use food stamps to buy seeds to grow food in your garden. it's an amazing educational opportunity to encourage kids to try new foods. there's an age when kids don't want to eat anything that's not white and fried. if they have grown that food themselves and picked it themselves you have a new level of appreciation and opportunity to introduce healthy food. >> you tied it into crime reduction. if you know your neighbors, it reduces crime. there's a notion of health here
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that goes beyond whether or not you could be kate upton or jennifer lawrence. there's a question about the health of our communities as well as ourselves. john, are there actual policy initiatives that legislatively or legally we can start to move toward so they are not pie in the sky ideas or you should do better ideas, but we are reengineering the environment to be healthier? >> the business is powerful. there's not much of a counter balance. i mentioned and the advocacy outlets. this is something i have dealt with 400 or 500 candidates. not one of them have i had to prepare for a nutrition question. >> wow. >> until they start getting asked, you are not going to see policy changes. >> crime questions, education but not nutrition questions. >> pe in schools.
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get kids moving again. >> we cut that so they could make the no child left behind standards. >> i will take the pastry plate out anytime. before we go to a break, i want to give you a quick update on a story of a courageous teen activist. in an attack that sparked global outrage, she was targeted in pakistan by taliban gunmen for speaking out in favor of education for pakistani girls. now, three months later, she's been discharged from a british hospital recovering in england. doctors plan to perform more surgery on her within the next month. we wish her well. up next, we dive into the vault not once but twice. which president began the era of helping the people and which one screwed it all up? r on may 18th, five days later, i had a massive heart attack.
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is. in our vault today, we have two clips to show you, both marking turning points in how america handles poverty. 1964, this week marks the 49th anniversary of president lyndon johnson's state of the union speech declaring unconditional war on poverty. >> unfortunately, many americans live on the outskirts of hope. some because of their poverty and some because of their color. all too many because of both. our task is to help replace their dispair with opportunity. and this administration, today,
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here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in america. >> so, lbj's declaration led to program that is have become the backbone to medicare, medicaid and food stamps that all helped improve the standard of living for our nation's poor. then there was 1996 when president bill clinton and house speaker newt gingrich came together to make a deal on welfare reform. >> a long time ago, icon colluded the current welfare system undermines work, responsibility and family trapping generation after generation in independence and hurting the people it was designed to help. today we have an historic opportunity to make welfare what it was meant to be, a second chance, not a way of life. >> and that changed everything. the poor today are still paying the price for that reform bill
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put in place in 1996. so, when we come back, how the war on poverty turned into a war against the poor. c'mon dad! i'm here to unleash my inner cowboy... instead i got heartburn. [ horse neighs ] hold up partner. prilosec isn't for fast relief. try alka-seltzer. kills heartburn fast. yeehaw! introducing a revolutionary new mascara. clump crusher...crusher. 200% more volume. zero clumps. new clump crusher from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl.
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i'd like to thank eating right, whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios in 1996, president bill clinton with the help of newt gingrich signed into law the welfare reform act. it altered assistance so dramatically, he said he promised to end welfare as we know it. yes, he did. after he switched it from federal to state programs, welfare named no needy aid cut people just in the first six years of implementation. the welfare reform act gave states power to diminish cash aid to the neediest. among the worst offenders is
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georgia. according to slate magazine, fewer than 4,000 georgia gults receive tanf assistance even though their poverty rate is the sixth highest in the country. the assistance folks receive remained unchanged since 1996. it's a 30% drop in power. here to talk about what i think is a dire situation in georgia, the mayor of atlanta, kasim reed. all right, kasim, seriously, mayor, 4,000 people in the state? the goal is to move people from welfare to work but to move them from poverty to above the poverty line. >> i knew when i saw "midnight train to georgia" it was coming to me. we have to be candid. federal funding is down $124
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million since 2009. >> yep. >> our state is a very conservative state as it relates to the legislature. >> yep. >> you have seen very strict enforcement. there are some hopeful signs about half of the matching dollars come from third parties in the private sector that's stepping up in a powerful way. the number i completely disagree with. i would be more inclined for us to be on the path we were on. we have to step up. when i became mayor, two-thirds of our recreation centers were closed. we reopened every one of them. now we are exploring how to feed our kids, how to provide food. rather than just being someone that complains about what's happening at the federal level, we are trying to find ways to fill that gap. i disagree with the path. but i'm in a very conservative state. >> yep. >> and the federal government since 2009 cut $124 million from the program. >> absolutely.
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i think this point, i'm a mayor in a locality that has a disproportionate share. you are in a state, not just conservative. when we started looking back behind this, we found, once again, alec, right? when we look at these numbers in georgia at state legislatures, 37 members of the house, 16 of the georgia state senate are embedded, have times with alec. this is the same group we talked about before around stand your ground policies that made headlines in 2012. karen, this feels to me, not accidental. it's part of the clinton trianglization we are talking about and the conservative legislatures making it tougher to bring people out of poverty. >> we saw this during the presidential campaign and the conversation about the changes that conservative governors asked for and they were attacking president obama on
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this. to say the stereotypes of people who rely on these programs have done a good job of demonizing. we tend to think of african-american and lazy and the statistics are flot the case at all. that, in a very conservative area, that plays quite well because then it's like you are getting tough on those lazy people instead of understanding that when you cut the programs, when, you know, perhaps there need to be changes in the programs to make sure people are able to -- like what is the path to get back to work? is it training or retraining services? when you oversimplify the message and make cuts and get tough, there are consequences to that. >> what is the message that starts moving? what we saw was '64, lbj declaring a war on poverty, then bill clinton coming in in '96. from that time on democrats have
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been there themselves. >> you have to remember, if you want to change, the people change the people. we have removed, with the exception of shows like yours and chris' shows, poor people as a part of the national conversation. i have been guilty of it. the president is guilty of it. it goes down the line. that's why this conversation is important. it's also a vital national example because our conservative friends want to do exactly what they did with that with medicare. >> yes. >> so, when you talk about something that's people talk about medicare and some abstract thing when folks are talking about granting it to the states. we have a precise example of what happens when you block a program that was doing real good for people. >> when they block granted it, states like georgia and others end upkeeping the money. they don't pass it on to the poor. they keep it and redivert it to other programs because it's coming as a grant.
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>> one thing you have to understand is why states are doing this. it's not just because they don't want to give money to poor people. they can take the block grant, this pot of money and use it on other things. this is exactly what they want to do with medicare. it's what republicans want to do with medicaid. they want to reduce spending on medicaid. they would love for the states to get their hands on it as a blog grant and take the money and use it for other stuff. >> medicaid is a great example. there's a brewing fight in red states over the obama care medicaid. this is going to be big. there's a lot of money. there's a potential of diverse coalition fighting for medicaid expansion. it's not just diverse on the left. it's kind of the tea party against the world. i think hospitals. this will have a big impact on hospitals if they don't accept the medicaid expansion. a lot of money is at stake.
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not to mention the faith based community and the left and labor. it's going to be interesting if there's not little miniwars on poverty in the next few months. >> the other piece that is surprising is the war on poverty at the state level gets shifted back to the war on poor. one of the things states are passing are the drug testing for it so if you are going to get limited benefits you have to pass drug tests. >> how about have your blood tested for lead levels. let's go back to what we were talking about earlier. access to make good choices about nutrition. if you are living where your children are exposed to lead. part of the problem, talking war on poverty is a war on the poor. what are the conditions contributing, the environmental factors and social factors contributing to keeping people in those conditions. >> they are living in envir
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environmentally high lead levels, not have sug nif cant access to foods and not significant jobs. one of the things we know about atlanta is it's been a city that's done better in the post industrial america than some other cities, right, as the south is rising again, in a certain way. having jobs makes a big difference to the crime and the other questions. >> what we are guilty of, all of us and what conversations like the kind we are having today is going to change. putting poor people in the center of our conversation. i say middle class 100 times a week. everybody talks about middle class. in thomasville recreational center, a center i reopened, the average income for a family is $19,000 a year. it's very real for those folks. the center across the street used to be cold. folks at the atlanta community food bank focus on poor people
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and live it. we can't become so disconnected because we are all really blessed. among progressives, this is an area i think we have walked away from but folks like you are calling us to. >> to have a conversation not only about the poor, but i think it's a real conviction here. with people who are, themselves living in poverty to make sure our tables like this one, we are not just talking about the poor and the conditions the poor live, but engaging in a real way for people living in poverty. thank you to everyone. we are going to have more of this. first, it's time for a preview of weekends with alex witt. >> great conversation. i'm glad you are having it. let's talk about this. president obama this. as president obama considers a broad gun control ban. do you think assault weapons should be completely banned? reverend jesse jackson does. we're going to talk to him about that. the fallout for aid delay for hurricane sandy continues. will the debt ceiling battle
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become a legacy trap for president obama? we've got a presidential historian weighing in on that. in today's office politics, al roker shares what it's like to literally report from the middle of a hurricane. we have great video of him just being tumbled over doing that. it's pretty incredible, melissa. >> i've got to say, when the hurricanes came this year, i was very happy i am not that kind of tv personality. that is hard work. >> that is hard work for sure. >> thank you, alex. up next, a chance to reflect and rejuvenate. it's the new year.
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the face of the new year is an opportunity to look back even as we move forward. it is the west african concept of sancofa, return to get it. as we move into a second term of
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the obama administration, initiate the 113th congress, and anticipate the decisions of the next supreme court session, it is right to ask what we can learn from our past. 150 years ago, president lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation. it is an extraordinary, if imperfect, document. it is a reminder to our current administration that great leaders summon uncommon courage to do what is right even when the nation is deeply divided, perhaps most importantly when the nation is deeply divided. 50 years ago, the children of birmingham, alabama, took to the streets, allowed themselves to be led to jail, and turned the tide of the civil rights movement. their sacrifices dramatized the inhumanity of jim crow and gal vanized momentum for the march on washington. their strategy is echoed today by the dreamers, who inspired decisive executive action on behalf of themselves and their families and have placed immigration reform firmly at the
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top of the national agenda. 40 years ago, the supreme court's decision in roe v. wade established that americans have a constitutional right to privacy, meaning that women have a right to make reproductive choices without interference by the government. it is a reminder to our current justices that they are bound by precedent, even in the face of ideologues working to erode these rights. 20 years ago, president clinton signed the brady handgun violence prevention act. that is a reminder that we are not powerless in the face of gun crime. we have choices as a nation to craft common sense policies that can make us safer. ten years ago, having convinced most american lawmakers that saddam hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction, president george w. bush launched an invasion of iraq. there were no weapons of mass destruction. that is a reminder to be careful of fear driven policy making.
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when we act in fear, whether it is fear of external enemies or of domestic opponents, we risk compounding the problems we hope to eradicate. as we embrace the new year, let us do so in the spirit of sancofa. let us look back to learn the way forward. that's our show for today. thank you to ka seem reed, karen finney, and john rowley. also thank you for watching. i'll see you next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. the boys use capital one venture miles for their annual football trip. that's double miles you can actually use. tragically, their buddy got sacked by blackouts. but it's our tradition! that's roughing the card holder. but with the capital one venture card you get double miles you can actually use. [ cheering ] any flight, anytime. the scoreboard doesn't lie. what's in your wallet? hut! i have me on my fantasy team.
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i'm here to unleash my inner cowboy... instead i got heartburn. [ horse neighs ] hold up partner. prilosec isn't for fast relief. try alka-seltzer. kills heartburn fast. yeehaw! hello, everyone. approaching high noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." the syrian president makes a rare speech. the nhl season could be saved. will joe biden star in a reality tv show coming to a screen near you? a centennial celebration for president nixon.
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and the weight is over for "downton abby." . first, two front page politics. a new reaction today to the debt ceiling debate. on "meet the press," senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said they will not raise tax revenue again. he says instead the president should start working with congress to cut down on the deficit. >> the question now is will the president lead? why should we have to bring him to the table? why isn't he leading us in the direction of beginning to solve our long-term debt and deficit problem? it's perplexing to me that the president of the united states elected to lead the country is so reluctant to engage on the most important issue confronting our future. >> democratic congressman chris van holen, ranking member on the budget committee, was quick to respond. >> if senator mcconnell is going
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to draw the line in the sand, it's going to result in gridlock. we have to take a long-term approach to deficit reduction, meaning additional cuts. you remember during the campaign, you saw the republican candidate and paul ryan talking about all those tax breaks and loopholes in the tax code that disproportionately benefit wealthy people. guess what? they're still there. through tax reform, we can raise more revenue matched by additional cuts to address the sequester issue and the long-term deficit. >> and new today politico is reporting that president obama has settled on former republican senator chuck hagel for secretary of defense. an announcement is expected on this tomorrow. let's go right to the white house, where the first family arrived less than an hour ago now, like 30 minutes ago. and the president has at least three big things waiting for him. nbc white house correspondent peter alexander is joining me live. peter, good sunday to you. let's first hear more about his reported pick for defense
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